How not to be a leader who is a jerk?

Have you ever had someone encourage you at a time when you desperately needed it?

It wasn’t too long ago that I was that person who needed some encouragement. I simply wasn’t performing at the level that I knew I could perform at. Had I lost my touch? Had time passed me? Had my success run see it’s heyday?


Then out of nowhere one day, when I was sitting down reflecting on what I can do better,  I received a package. Enclosed in the package was a hand written card and small motivation poster/plaque. Simply encouraging me, uplifting me and tell me I have the talent, the knowledge to not only get back to where I was but surpass it. It was a random act of kindness. Still to this day I don’t know if they knew the impact their encouragement care package had on me. I read it about 10 times that day and it proved to be the fuel missing from my tank.


Encouragement is Oxygen to the soul.


There is nothing as refreshing as an encouraging word or deed.


Years ago I read a story about a young man named Victor Seribriarkoff. At age 15 he was called a dunce. He left school because he was so discouraged. In 1949, at the age of 32, his wife, Mary, spotted an advertisement for a society-seeking people of high intelligence. He scoffed at her. Besides his teacher said he was a dunce. Why should he even put his time into such a thing? However, his wife saw something more than a dunce. She encouraged him to take the test. Seribriarkoff took the entrance test and easily surpassed the group’s only requirement for membership. He scored 161 on the intelligence test, so off the charts that he likened it to hitting the bell on a carnival strength meter

He was elected chairperson of the Mensa Society—for geniuses. His teacher discouraged him when she needed to have encouraged him.

Take a moment to Notice Victors


There are other Victors around. Some are sales Victors. Some are technical support Victors. Some are manager Victors. However, every person alive needs an encourager like Victor’s wife who can see the given potential in him or her. This gift of encouragement is a powerful gift.

They say you will attract more bees with honey than vinegar. I couldn’t agree more. Through my experiences it takes little effort to find other people’s faults vs. the effort needed to find what’s good about another person!


Here are five ways not to be a jerk leader.


  1. An Encourager has great vision– an effective encourager has the ability to see possibilities that others cannot see. The ability to recognize the reality of circumstances, but not be limited by the immediate evidence vs a jerk leader see dispairs. Points out the crap and dwells in the past.
  2. Encouragers build up others with their words. -Speak words of encouragement, appreciation, support and respect. As the saying goes words are mightier than the sword vs a jerk leader is quick to tear people down.
  3. Encouragers get their hands dirty– an encourager gets involved. They are willing to walk alongside you. Like the CEO of the company who picks up the broom and helps the janitor clean up the garbage in the parking lot vs a jerk leader will say that task is beneath me.As iron sharpens iron, …. so one person …..sharpens another.
  4. Encouragers see possibility-Allow people to grow. No one has the power to reform another person, but by liking the other person as he/she is, you give them the power to change vs a jerk leader is always trying to change who you are vs building on who you are.
  5. Encouraging leaders lead by their positive example– They don’t engage in negative talk. They hold others high along with themselves.



In the words of William Arthur Ward


Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.


If there is one thing I have learned in all my years of managing and leading is that we need to be in the encouragement business! If you have any message of encouragement for others, please speak it!

Have you been encouraged? In what other ways can we encourage and empower others? I invite you to share and comment.


Equip, Educate, Empower, and Encourage others to become better leaders!

Be great today!

Tony Jalan


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About the Author

Tony Jalan is a top performing Division Sales Manager at Heartland Payment Systems, a Fortune 1000 company voted by Selling Power Magazine the #1 company to sell for in the U.S. Tony’s strategies on leadership and mentorship has created growth of 300% in his sales division in just 6 short years. Tony is also the author of Mentorship Lessons, a weekly blog about lessons  he has learned about sales and leadership over a career that has spanned over 18 years..

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